Slaves Of Christ
There is an old story about Abraham Lincoln. it is said that he went to the slave block to buy back a slave girl. As she looked at the white man bidding on her, she figured he was another white man, going to buy her and then abuse her. He won the bid and as he was walking away with his property, he said, "Young lady, you are free." She said, "What does that mean?" "It means you are free." "Does that mean that I can say whatever I want to say?" Lincoln said, "Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say." "Does that mean that I can be whatever I want to be?" Lincoln said, "Yes, you can be whatever you want to be." "Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?" He said, "Yes, you can go wherever you want to go."...the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, "Then I choose to go with you." (Source: http://www.christianitytoday.com/moi/2000/001/january/lincoln-at-slave-block.html)
If I am honest, I have been unable to verify whether or not that really happened. But if true, it paints a beautiful picture of voluntary servitude. It illustrates how each and every Christian should respond to our Master. As Christians we have been "bought with a price". (I Corinthians 6:20) - Jesus sought us and bought us. We were not purchased with silver or Gold. We were redeemed by "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"- (I Peter 1:19)
Redemption is the act of purchasing back something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom.
Jesus came to set us free... but He did not come to set us free to live however we want to live and to do what we want to do. Jesus redeemed us so that we could be free from sin, the Law, Satan, death and Hell
But we are to be slaves unto Him. - People love the idea of Jesus as "Savior". We are quick to proclaim that He called us His "friends". We refer to Him as "The Good Shepherd". We profess that He is "The Christ". We call Him "Emmanuel" (God with us). We believe that He is the Son of God. Without a doubt He is all of these things and many more. But ultimately He is Lord!
Many people today refer to Him as Lord but unfortunately this has become nothing more than empty Christian rhetoric. Very few people grasp the concept of Jesus as Lord of their lives. This is a two sided relationship. If there is a Master or Lord, then there must be a slave. There is no doubt that Jesus is Lord. The question is... are you His slave? Is He YOUR LORD AND MASTER? That is a question that I hope you can answer before you leave here today.
I would like to look to the Word of God and preach on the subject "Slaves Of Christ". In order to illustrate the proper relationship between the slave and his master, I would like to look at a beautiful portion of scripture found in Exodus chapter 21. Here we are given the regulations concerning Hebrew slaves and their masters.
The scriptures tells us that if a (Hebrew) master purchased a Hebrew slave he would only be required to serve for 6 years. In the 7th year, known as the "Year of Jubilee" that slave would be set free. When the 7th year came the slave had the opportunity to remain with his master. If he said "I love my master" he was permitted to remain as a slave. When this happened there was a legal ceremony that took place. The slave would be taken before judges and public witnesses and an "aul" would be driven through his ear. This signified that he belonged to his master forever.
When we think of slavery or hear the word slave our minds are immediately taken back to the horrible events of our nations past. But the images in our minds are very different from the context of these verses. In certain instances Hebrews would voluntarily become slaves. This was usually motivated by extreme poverty. This process is further explained in - Leviticus 25:39 “If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: 40 he shall be with you as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. 41 Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return to the possession of his fathers. 42 For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt...
This slavery that was allowed under the Law was not intended to oppress or punish. It was allowed as a way to protect and provide for people.
Suppose there was a vineyard owner who had invested all he had into the upcoming harvest. When he ran out of his own money he went and borrowed a large sum from a neighbor. He worked and put all that he had into this vineyard and then a drought came and the harvest was ruined. He lost his investment, he made no profit, he still owed his debtors their money back and worst of all he lost his means of supporting his family. One bad harvest causes this man to go completely bankrupt. The debt collectors are knocking at his door. His family is starving and things seem hopeless. There was no welfare, no food stamps, no Red Door kitchen, no payday loan office and no social security What was this man to do?
The Law gave him the option to sell himself into slavery for a 6 year span. He could take the money from the sale and pay off his debtors and care for his family. Knowing the whole time that after 6 years he would be free and could return home and start over. Now lets suppose that the 7th year has arrived and according to the Law, this slave is to be granted freedom. He is told, your time is up... YOU ARE FREE TO LEAVE! This slave looks at his situation he realizes that he is well fed, he has a roof over his head, he has clothes to wear, he is protected and provided for and he has a master who loves him and treat him like a son. He examines the alternative and decides that he would rather remain with his master.
This slave had every right to choose to remain with the master that he loved. After this choice was made the master would take the slave before the judge and the people. The master would then stand the slave against a door post and take an "aul" and drive it through his earlobe. That ceremony signified that though he was free, he voluntarily chose to become a lifetime slave to his master.
When we are born again, Jesus becomes our Lord. This means that He is our Master. You do not have the option to choose Jesus as Savior but refuse Him as Lord. This is an all or nothing proposition! A slave is someone whose life belongs entirely to someone else.
John Macarthur says - In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. (we hear) about freedom. It is about liberation. It is about health, wealth, prosperity, finding your own fulfillment, fulfilling your own dream, finding your own purpose. We often hear that God loves you unconditionally and wants you to be all you want to be. He wants to fulfill every ambition, every desire, every hope, every dream. - (Source:http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-321/slaves-for-christ)
The Bible directly contradicts what we hear from many pulpits today. Simply put... life is about the Master... not the slave! In the Greek the word for "slave" is "doulos". In the original text this word is found in the New Testament over 130 times. But in the entire KJV you only read it once. Likewise, most all modern English versions of the Bible translate "doulos" as "servant or bondservant". Unfortunately this waters down our true relationship to Christ.
Think for a moment about the terminology we use when we witness to lost people. We speak about "being born again". We invite people to "ask Jesus into their heart". We use terms like "surrender to Jesus", "turn to Jesus" and "trust in Jesus". It is true that these are elements of salvation but in reality, salvation is about people becoming slaves of Jesus Christ. It is about surrendering our desires and following Him. We are to humble ourselves before the master and say "I have no will but Your will, I have no plan but Your plan...I have no desire but Your desire".
Examining the difference between slaves and servants will give us a better understanding of our relationship to Christ. Servants are hired to work for wages. Those who are hired have the option to quit. Slaves belong to the master. If a slave quit or ran away they would be hunted, arrested, beaten and possibly killed.
It is time that we as Christians cease the empty rhetoric. We must realize our true position in Christ. It is time to stop playing games and going through the motions. It is time that we fully submit and surrender ourselves to our Master. Yes we are Christians ...we are Believers ...we are children of God...we are Disciples of Christ. We are all of these things and many more... BUT WE ARE TO BE SLAVES OF CHRIST!
As we look to our selected text in exodus. The context refers to a Hebrew slave. But I would like to use this as an illustration of our position as "Slaves of Christ". I would like to pull 5 aspects of slaves of Christ from these verses. The first that I would like to consider is:
I. THE SUBMISSON OF A SLAVE OF CHRIST- v5 And if the servant (slave) shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
This Hebrew slave had a choice to make. His 6 years of slavery were complete. He had every right to take matters into his own hands and leave his master. But he made the conscious decision to submit to his master. Becoming a Christian is more than simple "belief" in Christ. This process involves more than simple head knowledge. It is not enough to believe that Jesus left the glories of Heaven, lived a perfect life, died for the sins of the world, ascended to Heaven and is coming back some day. Satan believes this... HE KNOWS THAT IT IS A FACT! James said that the "demons also believe and tremble".
In order to "inherit the Kingdom of God" we must make Christ the Lord of our lives. It is a matter of surrender. We learn this from Jesus Himself.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 7:21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus makes it clear that becoming a slave to Him requires submission. Have you done that?
Have you surrendered to Christ? Have you submitted your will unto Him. Is He the LORD OF YOUR LIFE? If Jesus is not Lord... YOU ARE NOT SAVED!! - 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
If you are a Slave of Christ then you have a great love for your Master. Let's consider that for a moment:
II. THE AFFECTION OF A SLAVE OF CHRIST - v5 "I love my master"
The Hebrew slave who chose to remain with his master did so out of love. The master cared for the slave and treated him well. In fact this was required in the Law. God made it clear that He is the one who delivered the Hebrews from Egypt and they ultimately belonged to Him. Through the Law the master was told to treat the slave as a "hired servant and sojourner". Though the slave was required to work and obey his master, the master was required to treat him kindly. In many cases great relationships developed. So much so that when "The Year Of Jubilee" came, the slave willingly chose to remain with the master forever.
Being a slave of Christ is not a difficult task when you consider all that He has done for us. He has delivered us from bondage, secured our salvation and given us a new life. He has provided us with eternal life and promised us a home in Heaven. He walks with us and talks with us. He is our refuge in times of trouble. He provides for us daily. We have a close intimate relationship with Him. These things should motivate us to serve Him each and every day of our lives. Our service should be inspired by our love for our Master! This love for our Master will cause us to remain faithfully devoted to Him. Consider:
III. THE DEVOTION OF A SLAVE OF CHRIST - v5c "I will not go out free"
Think about this Hebrew slave for a moment. He has been in slavery for 6 years. The Year of Jubilee arrives and his time is up. He is completely free. He had no obligation whatsoever to his master. He has the opportunity to go wherever he wants to go and to do whatever He wants to do. What does he choose to do... he chooses to remain with his master.
There are many people today who claim to belong to Jesus. Yet there is no evidence of a personal relationship with Him. Their lives are direct contradictions of what He has commanded in His Word. These are people who had an "emotional experience". They have made a profession of faith yet they do not truly possess salvation. The slave of Christ is one who sees what the world has to offer and says "I will not leave my Master". The slave of Christ is one who lives with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one.
There are times when you will be tempted to go your own way. The Devil with paint a pretty picture of sin. He will do all that he can to pull you away from your Master. Your own natural flesh will have desires that would take you from the Master. Never forget that as a "Slave of Christ" you don't belong to you anymore...you belong to Jesus!! No matter what the enemy offers you, remain steadfast and devoted and proclaim "I will not leave my Master!"
Moving on to verse 6, I would like to consider:
IV. THE IDENTIFICATION OF A SLAVE OF CHRIST- v6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
Once the slave made the decision to remain with his master forever a ceremony took place. The slave was taken before judges and witnesses and an "aul" was driven through his earlobe. This signified the slaves' submission to his master.
What is the first thing we do when we are saved? ...We are Baptized. This is not something we do behind the scenes. We are baptized publicly. Boldly before God and many witnesses we proclaim that we are surrendered to Christ. We identify as slaves of our "Lord and Master". But this goes much farther than baptism. Our lives and our actions should identify us as slaves of Christ.
When someone saw a Hebrew slave who had gone through this ceremony they knew that person belonged to someone else. He was no longer his own! The same is true for the slave of Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
When someone examines your life, when they see how you live... they should immediately know "that man or that woman belongs to Jesus Christ. Many people profess to know Jesus, but it is somewhat rare to find someone who's life proves that they are a slave to the Master.
Paul said in Galatians 6:17 .... "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." There he is explaining that he bore the "stigma" or the brand marks of his Master. Just as those scars were visible on the body of the Apostle, there should be visible evidence of the fact that we belong to Jesus!
Jesus is our Master and we should submit to Him, love Him, be devoted to Him and Identify as slaves to Him. Finally I would like to examine:
V. THE OBLIGATION OF A SLAVE OF CHRIST - v6b "he shall serve him for ever."
When the Hebrew slave made the decision to remain with his master this was a lifetime commitment. And this commitment required him to serve the master forever! This was not a relationship where the slave could enjoy the benefits and security without any expectations on his part. He was required to serve. And this service lasted forever. The slave could not choose to serve only when it was convenient for him. He did not reserve the right to refuse a task that was handed down from his Lord. He could not go off and do his own thing and then return to his master when he felt like it. His life was a life of consistent service to his master!
Jesus said in - John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." - As slaves of Christ we are required to serve Him! Too many people want the benefits of a relationship with Jesus without serving Him. It doesn't work that way.
People want to be delivered from their sins. They want to be rescued from hell. They want to inherit eternal life. They want to possess a home in Heaven. They want to be able to call on Jesus in times of trouble. They want the privileges but they refuse to surrender completely to Him. These are people who want to profess Jesus, but they want to continue to live life their way. They want to go where they want to go. They want to do what they want to do. They only want to serve Jesus when it is convenient for them. That is not the life of a slave, that is the life of a spoiled brat!
Are you a true slave of Christ? I am not asking if you have "prayed a prayer" , or if you have "asked Jesus into your heart", or even if you have "decided to follow Jesus". I want you to examine your life and see if there has ever been a time in your life where you surrendered to Jesus as your Lord and Master?
When it comes to salvation we hear a lot about "believing and confessing". Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved...............Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Salvation is more than simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God. It involves more than trusting that He died for your sins and was resurrected on the 3rd day. It is not enough to simply believe and trust that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. Salvation does require believing and confessing. But what are we believing and confessing? We are confessing that Jesus is Lord! "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus"........"whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved"
If you will do this...HE WILL SAVE YOU! If He has saved you, you are to be a SLAVE OF CHRIST!
If we are His slaves, we should have the mindset of the Hebrew slave. We are to submit to our Master. We are to love our Master. We are to be devoted to our Master. We are to be identified as slaves of our Master and we are obligated to serve our Master. Does that describe you? If not.... let today be the day that you surrender to Him!!
Service is not a burden! It is a true privilege to be "A Slave Of Christ".